Another week has passed and a slew of movie happenings went down. Farenheit 9-11 will bring up the temperature in New York City a few days earlier. Leonardo DiCaprio becomes an “animal lover”. And George Lucas said that some fans have won the guessing game over the title of his new Star Wars flick. But a lot more happened in TinselTown this week. So let’s take a look, but first, let’s check out the numbers at the box office.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

It seems Americans have balls to root for the underdog after all. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story took home the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, even though it was in fewer theaters than the other two new releases. The Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn comedy took in an estimated $30 million in its debut weekend. It averaged a healthy $11,135 per screen while in just under 2,700 theaters. This great opening weekend earned back its $20 million budget, and, if it doesn’t drop dramatically next weekend, it could pass the $100 million mark, which is something that none of Ben Stiller’s 3 other movies this year haven’t even come close to.

The Terminal was in a distant second, grossing an estimated $18.7 million in its debut weekend. It’s somewhat surprising that this movie didn’t gross too much, with the star-power of Tom Hanks and helmer Steven Speilberg, and the fact that it was in 115 more theaters than Dodgeball was. Unless this movie has only a minor drop-off next weekend, it seems unlikely that this will fail to earn a profit from it’s $60 million budget.

The other new release this weekend didn’t fare so well. The remake Around the World in 80 Days took the ninth spot this weekend, grossing an estimated $6.8 million in its opening weekend. This could very well be the biggest bust of the year. There isn’t a chance in Hades that they’ll make back the massive $110 million budget. They’ll be lucky to even break $20 million, by my estimations.

And in related non-profit news, The Chronicles of Riddick suffered a huge blow in its second weekend. The Vin Diesel action flick took the seventh spot at the box office with an estimated gross of $8.2 million. The movie had a mammoth drop of 65.9% in its second weekend. It’s not a record, by any means, (the 68th biggest 2nd weekend drop, to be exact) but it’s not any good either. It is rather unlikely that they will earn a profit here from the $105 million budget, and the hopes for a potential franchise off the Riddick character might be dashed with this movie’s failure as well.

GOING LIVE

Racing Stripes: (racingstripesmovie.warnerbros.com) This useless site is up first. There is nothing here except the title and a drawing of a goose or gull, or something like that. I don’t know animals… Anyway, the only other thing here is they tell us this movie is coming out January 14 of next year. Hopefully there is more to this dumb site by then.

Without a Paddle: (withoutapaddlemovie.com) This site is actually pretty cool. After a neat little Flash intro, they take you right to the trailer, but you can skip that and just go to the site. There isn’t a whole lot there, but they’re very creative with it. There is a link to The Story, you can click on the little pictures to fill in the story, which is kind of cool. There is a list of the cast and crew there as well. Other than that, there is just a link where you can sign up for the newsletter and watch the trailer again. But if you click on these little gold coins, the “mountain man” played by Burt Reynolds pops up and you can download a few desktops and AOL Instant Messanger icons. This is a pretty neat little site, and I’m sure more will pop up here before it’s August 20 release.

Kaena: The Prophecy: (sonypictures.com/movies/kaenatheprophecy) There isn’t that much to this site either. There is a synopsis, small photo gallery, some background info on the main characters, an interview with the movie’s director, Chris Delaporte and a link to register for updates on the movie. There’s just not a whole lot here, folks.

Blade: Trinity: There was also the site for Blade: Trinity (bladetrinity.com) but there was nothing there but the title and that this movie is coming out in December.

TRAILER PARK

Racing Stripes: This movie just looks plain dumb. The cast is kind-of impressive (Frankie Muniz, Dustin Hoffman, Joe Pantoliano, Patrick Stewart, Michael Clarke Dunacn and many others), and for the first part of the trailer you might think it’s a blatant rip-off of Seabiscuit. The good news is that it is not a blatant rip-off. The bad news is, well, the rest of the movie. It’s live-action mixed in with a little animation, but it seems like their fishing too hard for laughs here. The fact that this opens on January 14 is not a good sign either, because January is one of those months where studios dump their horrible movies. It looks like this movie fits the January trend…

Without a Paddle: This could be a decent movie, but I’m not quite sure. Matthew Lillard and Seth Green are pretty funny, but I’m not too sure about Dax Sheppard, best known as one of the punks from Punk’d. The premise is interesting, though – 3 friends searching for the missing fortune from D.B. Cooper’s famed parachute jump. This does look like it has its funny parts, especially Burt Reynolds playing a weird mountain man, so it could be worth checking out. Without a Paddle opens on August 20.

Intimate Strangers: I didn’t recognize the voice of the guy who did this trailer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was director Patrice Leconte, because the trailer starts out with all of this praise for Leconte. It was just annoying to hear that kind of stuff in the trailer. Anyway, the movie does look pretty decent though, but it almost looks like a rip-off of Mumford, because it’s about a girl who mistakes a guy for a therapist, and he plays along with it. There is not a release date for this yet, but this might be worth checking out when it does hit the theaters.

Finding Neverland: This looks to be a wonderful movie for everyone. It’s based on the true story of how author/playwright J.M. Barrie was inspired to write the classic Peter Pan. Johnny Depp looks to give another marvelous performance as Barrie, and Kate Winslet will probably perform nicely as well, as does Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman. Depp could possibly secure his 2nd straight Oscar nomination with this performance. But we’ll have to wait until October 22 to see how he does.

A Home at the End of the World: This is another “love triangle” movie, but it looks like a pretty good one. Colin Farrell is always a solid performer, but this isn’t really the type of role you’d expect him to tackle. This does look like a good performance from the Irish bad boy, though, and the story sounds very interesting. The title is pretty cool as well. This looks like it’s definitely worth a look, when it’s released on July 23.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

My pick for best news of the week is the possible fast-track releasing of Team America. This movie sounded just hilarious last year when I read about it, and apparently it’s getting some great buzz. It’s a movie from the genius creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The movie features marionettes instead of actors, and I can’t wait to see what they can do with this. Their material is always full of subtleties, and they’re never afraid to speak their mind. Remember that hilarious episode they did about Phil Collins right after they lost the Oscar for Best Original Song to him? Priceless, people. Simply priceless. And given their reputation for being completely politically incorrect, this definitely sounds like a winner.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

The worst news of the week is by far the news of a movie called Gay Secret Agent. Wow. But where else was the “secret-agent” genre really supposed to go? They’ve had X-Games type secret agents (See: xXx) kid secret agents (See: Agent Cody Banks) and even black guys dressing up as white chicks (See: umm White Chicks). But still, this sounds like it will be amazingly retarded. It says the “tone” will be part 007, Our Man Flint and Austin Powers. At least they’re being original…(that was sarcasm, by the way). And the worst part of all is that apparently, him being gay is beneficial to his job because he’s more well-mannered and charming and crap like that. Unbelievable. What’s his first case? That Oscars pre-show with Joan Rivers and he has to solve fashion dilemma’s? As Yoda would say, “Fade away, this project should...”